T20 World Cup: New Zealand seals semis berth with win over Afghanistan

Needing a modest 125 to win, New Zealand completed a comprehensive job with eight-wickets and 11 balls to spare.

New Zealand's captain Kane Williamson and teammate Devon Conway put on a 68-run stand to take the side to a win over Afghanistan.   -  AP

New Zealand beat Afghanistan by eight wickets in a Group 2 Super 12 game in Abu Dhabi on Sunday to progress to the ICC T20 World Cup semifinals. This win also means India and Afghanistan are now out of the tournament.

Needing a modest 125 to win, Daryl Mitchell and Martin Guptill began with a flurry of fours before Mujeeb Ur Rahman got Mitchell caught behind. Guptill, with Kane Williamson, took New Zealand to 45 for one in six overs. Rashid Khan (1 for 27) castled Guptill in the ninth over for his 400th T20 wicket. But with only 68 to get from 11.1 overs and eight wickets to spare, Williamson and Devon Conway were content with singles and the occasional fours.

 

AFG vs NZ - Highlights

Conway brought the equation down to 34 from 36 balls with two fours off Mohammad Nabi's last over. New Zealand eventually got over the line, riding on an unbeaten 68-run partnership between Conway and Williamson.

Earlier, Afghanistan lost both openers cheaply after electing to bat. Adam Milne removed Mohammad Shahzad in the third over courtesy of a fine catch by wicketkeeper Conway. Trent Boult then had Hazratullah Zazai caught. And when Tim Southee trapped Rahmanullah Gurbaz in front in the last over of the PowerPlay, Afghanistan was in dire straits.

Najibullah Zadran infused some life into the innings with a couple of boundaries off James Neesham in the ninth over. But just when there was a semblance of a fightback, Gulbadin, at the other end, chopped on.

Meanwhile, Najibullah clubbed Santner for two sixes as 19 came off the 14th over, including a wide. Next over, the left-hander brought up a 33-ball half-century. The boundaries dried up between overs 15 and 17 before Najibullah ended the drought with a six and a four off Southee in the 18th. The last ball of the same over, Nabi was caught and bowled while Najibullah fell in the next, having struck a 48-ball 73. Neesham conceded two runs and took a wicket in the 20th as Afghanistan finished on 124 for eight. It wasn't enough to keep the side alive in the end.

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